What is the Problem with People?

Modern Lifestyle in the Face of Climate Emergency

What is the problem with people? Why, in the face of a looming climate disaster, do they fail to take action and persist in irresponsible behaviours? This question is crucial in contemporary society.

Any serious reflection on the fashion industry, which is our focus, must consider the big picture – human nature, psychology, economics, philosophy, and more. Setting priorities and reaching a consensus on that.

“People don’t want to see” – Rupert Read

“At the end of the day, the problem is not that the people aren’t smart enough to see; it is that they don’t want to see. These people don’t want to face reality. But reality is starting to bite us.” So stated Rupert Read, an academic, former spokesperson for Extinction Rebellion, and current director of the Climate Majority Project, during a panel addressing climate emergency.

Investigating the reasons behind inaction in the face of an undeniably alarming reality, Rupert Read offers a sobering response. We seem to be heading toward the end of civilization.

However, these insights are crucial for any serious analysis of the fashion industry and the broader economic system. As we scrutinise the fashion system, revealing its outdated and irresponsible practices, we realise we are confronting a cultural issue. This issue is deeply embedded in our economic system and human nature.

For instance, consumer spending has skyrocketed because products are now designed to be disposable, necessitating continuous replacement. Despite the obvious unsustainability of this model, people seem unwilling to change their habits.

We chose to act now. That’s why we changed how we operate our fashion business: small, lean, independent, value-driven. We select a limited number of pieces – no packaging, no waste. But most don’t understand it’s an intentional radical choice. Good design, quality and fairly paid workers – therefore made-to-last products – don’t come at low prices.


In short, what is the problem with people? According to Rupert Read, it’s not that people don’t see; they prefer to deny reality. This denial allows them to maintain their lifestyle – shopping for cheap green-labelled garments, eating fast food, or taking frequent flights, yet opting for improbable sustainable hotels. So conscience is clear.

And you, what are you choosing to do?

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